BY ELAH GEOFREY MBONGALE
The Cameroon Government has launched man hunt for a renowned Masaka Bekondo cocoa farmer, Mr. Ponchenji Mbiojing George, following his involvement in the activities of the Southern Cameroon National Council, SCNC, a movement which seeks to protect the rights of Anglophones said to be marginalized by the majority Francophone.
According to family sources and some officials of SCNC, Mr. Ponchenji was arrested alongside others by the military, at the early stage of the Anglophone crisis while distributing flyers carrying calls for ghost town, no school and other SCNC documents in the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
The Bamenda-based activist, with cocoa farms in the South West Region, was placed under inhumane conditions while in detention, and was only released after signing an undertaking to stay off SCNC activities. Shortly after signing this undertaking, The SUN has it on good record that Mr. Ponchenji continued with his SCNC propaganda, despite poor health. When he was tipped that security operatives were on his trail to arrest him, reports hold that he ran to the South West Region,and later left the town after the military destroyed his cocoa farm. In an attempt to seek refuge in Douala, Mr. Ponchenji Mbiojing was arrested and whisked to the Kondengui maximum security prison in Yaounde where he made many other Anglophones arrested in connection to conflict.
Family sources confirmed, as we went to press, that after several months at Kondengui, he managed to escape and might have sought refuge in Europe or the USA. With the launching of investigations to trace and track down all alleged activists; both home and abroad considered as the hidden hands behind the ongoing Anglophone crisis, many analysts have conjectured that coming back to Cameroon with the current political atmosphere, and with the regime in power could mean the end of his life.
As tension rages on in the restive North West and South West regions, several calls have been made for all protagonists to embrace peace for a better and new Cameroon. This has more or less fallen on deaf ears as the armed conflicts between the separatist fighters and the defense forces continue unabated, with multiple deaths recorded on both sides, houses razed, and villages burnt down, while Internally Displaced Persons keep increasing.
Meanwhile the government is sparing no effort at tracking down those it considers agents of destruction with trumped up charges including but not limited to propagation of false information, rebellion, revolution, secession, insurrection and non-possession of National Identity card, proffered against them. Even those abroad considered as activists and preaching against the marginalization of Southern Cameroons by the Yaounde regime, have equally been declared enemies of the State and tagged for prosecution.
According to a survey released by a group of Human Rights Organisations in Cameroon, the lives of activists of Anglophone extraction are now in danger as the two regions are no longer safe. Recent statistics by civil society organizations indicates the death toll is on a rise while there are claims that about 200 villages have been burnt down in the two regions, and some 430,000 people internally displaced. Thousands of other English-speaking Cameroonians are also residing in neighboring Nigeria as refugees. Efforts by the government to seek a pacific solution to the crisis through dialogue have been in vain as the “secessionist” say they would fight till the last man standing.